Connecting People to Nature & Conservation

by Asnoldo Benitez, EFTA’s Diversity Outreach Coordinator

This July, the Children & Nature Network hosted another successful Natural Leaders Legacy Camp. I attended the leadership training at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. I have been working with Environment for the America’s GOCO Inspire initiative in Longmont, Colorado, a program in which we’re working to learn about the Latino community there and organize, plan, and facilitate events. My job is a perfect fit for Legacy Camp, become the Camp focuses on community organizing and leadership skills. My goal at EFTA and Legacy Camp’s goals are to engage communities that have not been visible in outdoor recreation and Conservation.

Legacy Camp is rightly named so; conveyed in the camps dedication to educating the next generation of conservationists and centered on the doctrine of sharing, educating and facilitating individual and community growth. The importance of storytelling in community building are demonstrated as a unified theme; sharing your personal story in the right way gives community efforts stronger cohesion.  A community is fueled by the story that created it, and something so precious can only be created in a safe place. That is why the Natural Leaders Network teaches how to create a large, safe environment for its members to express themselves and form lasting connections.

At Legacy camp, we learned through doing and took turns sharing the positive energy. We also learned about our own work style, and I Identified my default leadership style as a Relationship Master. I understand my strengths and weaknesses and know what I can do to improve my work! I also know what personality types I work best with.

We also began planning the Regional Legacy Camp we will host in Colorado in September. Regional Legacy Camps work to accelerate the dissemination of stewardship through conservation and recreation in our respective communities. Participants from Washington, Texas, Colorado, and Minnesota attended and created the framework to bring a Regional Legacy Camp to different parts of the country. I’m looking forward to applying what I learned to on-the-ground efforts in Colorado!

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